From the Former Home of General Robert E. Lee

“Much that is beautiful must be discarded” *

 

A voice 1,000 miles away describes the chaos

of a life we have temporarily left behind but persists

in our absence.

 

The horizon is reflected in your eyes

as you survey the city from this height.

 

Marble, asphalt, & concrete coalesce

as symbolic power, as empty ascetic space.

 

We are far enough from fear to finally examine it.

The Lincoln Memorial, once 99 feet tall, echoes

our insignificance felt just hours ago.

 

I recall John telling me in the teachers’ lounge

that he didn’t recognize his reflection anymore.

I still feel like another age inside this old body.

 

Ashen clouds have hidden the light for days,

but the color of the landscape begins too change.

 

We never belonged here among the dead,

born again in weathered white stone.

 

Sitting in silence, we trace human shadows

to slow the movement, the forward progression,

to attend to the void made by man’s disappearance.

 

We watch the world grow dark around the Capital,

the National Mall and Lincoln. Still, between them,

our needle penetrates the sky.

 

 

*John Ashbery, from Some Trees (1956)

Jason Dean Arnold’s entire career has been devoted to the importance of education, from teaching in the K-12 setting to designing and teaching online courses for post secondary. He currently serves as the director for E-Learning, Technology, and Communications at the University of Florida’s College of Education. Jason has no ability to compartmentalize. As a result, his writing, visual artwork, and music (and other creative output) are all extensions of his love for learning. 

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